Photo of Kari Pierce

Kari Pierce

Class of 2022

After an exhaustive search for externships and lack of availability due to the COVID 19 Pandemic, Professor Dutton worked her magic and approached me with an opportunity to extern with the Washington State Office of Administrative Hearings in Olympia. Before that point I had never considered completing a judicial externship though I always considered a judicial career in my future. Accepting the opportunity was by far one of the best decisions I made during my time in law school.

I had unique experience of working with Administrative Law Judges throughout the State of Washington. These judges were presiding primarily over Child Support and Unemployment hearings and had a whole range of experience from a few months to twenty years. After every hearing I got to discuss the case with the Judge and hear what the decision-making process was for that judge and what they were considering in making their decision. By the end of the summer, I had the opportunity to begin drafting opinions for the judges to determine if my decision was in line with theirs.

In addition to working with Administrative Law Judges, I had the chance to take on special projects regarding judicial ethics trainings and ALJ best practices. It was a once in a lifetime experience to look behind the curtain and see what goes into not only making judicial decisions but maintaining the integrity of the profession.

I would highly recommend an externship with the Washington State Office of Administrative Hearings. Especially if you would like a career on the bench but not necessary one that requires you to campaign for it. This externship will show the varieties of judicial work available and the opportunities within OAH are endless.